Thursday, 28 January 2016

And right after? Some sense and sensibility

We're going old school people. For right after the Nanny diaries, we dig into a classic. Jane Austen's Sense and sensibility will be our next stop. Just to let you know so you can stock up in advance.
And remember to make proper use of those big buttons below so you can share this with aall your friends (and pseudo-friends) on social media.
You know I love you, right?

Go on Nanny! Spill all the dirty little secrets!

Of course there's nothing like the promise of a former employee (preferably aggrieved), spilling all the dirty secrets of their former employee to have us gleefully reaching for a book. Well, rejoice all you nosy ones for by the time you're done reading our next selection, you will have had your fill. Drum roll pleaaase! Its the Nanny diaries! In their first work published in 2002, former nannies Emma McLaughlin and  Nicola Kraus offer us a glimpse into the posh and sometimes oh so nasty lives of the wealthy residents of New York's Park Avenue. Is your mouth watering already? Then go get a copy and let the ride begin.
And oh! Its even been made into a movie. Gets more more exciting.

Purple Hibiscus: Home Work

Good day class,
 I hope you are enjoying our current selection Purple Hibiscus. Below you'll find two discussion topics I have prepared in order to get a sense of what you think about the book.
1. There is certainly no excuse forbrother Eugene's behaviour but on Page 194, he tells Kambili how a priest made him soak his hands in hot water after finding him 'sinning against his own body' What influence, if any, donyou thnk this incidence had on him as a person?
2. Do you think that Father Amadi should have done more to discourage Kambili's infatuation with him giving the fact that a) she was a minor and b) he was a priest who was sworn to celibacy?
 I will expect your responses in the comments section by moday. LolπŸ˜„

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

She's been cleaning the figurines again

Am sure you know where I stand on this issue but just to make it really really clear, I'll state my postition: No wife on this earth deserves to live with a husband like brother Eugene and no child should have to cower and hide at the approach of their father like Jaja and Kambili. And they probably wouldnt have to if we did not live in a society that turns a blind eye to domestic violence, if instituitons like the Nigerian Police did not excuse it with statements such as 'this is a family matter, go and settle it at home' and if relations did not lay the blame entirely on the victims with unbelivable verdicts like 'are you sure you didnt do anything to provoke him? 'Your husband is not a crazy man, he would not just beat you without a good reason' Imagine!
Here in Nigeria for example, there are no reliable statistics on domestic violence because the victims have chosen not to speak up. Like sister Beatrice, they would probably rather transfer their voices to other things like her figurines which she cleans after every attack from the man who probably swore to love and protesct her forever before an alter of God.
We cant let this continue, if you or someone you know is goung through anything like this, please speak up. Seek help.

Excited about Bare-Lit 2016? Well, it needs you to happen

You do remember what Bare-Lit is, dont you? Dont tell me you've forgotten already. Ok, its this really cool literary festival for minority writers thats supposed to kick off  in the Uk from the 26th of February. Yeah, I said 'supposed to kick off' cuz unless we all do something fast, there wont be enough money to organise it (God forbid). So please do something. They need £7000 but they've only been able to raise about £4000 on the crowdfunding site indigogo.
I dont think I'll be attending (tears) but if you want to and I hope you do, please go over to  x to make a donation and we at Up Close and Literal, the organisers and indeed all book lovers out there will owe you our lives, forever. Ok may be not literally but it would make us really hapoy to see that this festivals does take place Did I mention that there are some really tempting perks you get when you donate.
You can follow them on twitter @barelt for more details.

Sincere apologies first of all

I have been away for too long and am sorry. I had some problems logging into my blogger account ( yes I know thats a super flimsy excuse) and I hope you didnt miss me too much. What? Am forgiven? Thanks alot!
 Now while we're on it, did you guys notice anything? No? We are a month old! Yep its our montherversary and to be honest I just wanted to say a super giant inflated thank you to you all for the support. Really each time you click on this page, I ferl like you're sending me a huge package of love.
I hope our really cozy bookish realtionship lasts forever. 😍

Friday, 15 January 2016

Americanah: Buchi's Happy Ending

Have you finished reading the book yet? Well have and I think it now officially one of my favorite books. Of course, after rooting and praying for them, our  friends Ifemelu and Obinze finally kiss and make up. But sure, just like most times when we make a decision, someone else is affected and this time its Obinze's sweet four-year old Buchi.
 Does any one else feel sorry for her? I mean her parents are splitting and it cant be easy so I just hope that when Obinze declares 'Buchi will lack nothing' he doesnt mean just toys and nice clothes.  In the end, every child deserves the love and attention of both their parents whether they remain married or not.
 So there! Mission read Americanah, officially completed. I hope you'll pick up Purple Hibicus too so we can have just as much fun togeher.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

BARE-LIT 2016: who else is super excited?

Excited about what? What else? BARE-LIT!
What is it? Its a brand new literally festival solely dedicated to black and minority writers in the UK. How cool is that?
When is it: Its from the 26th to the 28th of February, 2016.Save   the date.
Who's coming? Um, you mean who is not coming, because everyone who is any one is. Check it out: Xaolu Guo, Leila Aboulela, Zen Cho, Tendi Huchu, Malika Booker, Robin Yassin-Kassab, Haris Durran and many, many more.
Want more info?
Twitter: @Barelit
Much love.

Want to enter the 2016 Caine Prize For African Writing? Hurry! Deadline's fast approaching.

The Caine Prize For African Writing is named in memory of the late Sir Michael Caine, former chairman of Booker Plc. He was chairman of Africa 95, and chairman of the Booker Prize management committee for almost 25 years. The first prize was awarded in 2000, at the ZimbabweInternational  Book fair in Harare at at £10,000, the prize money is quite tempting but you'd have to hurry. The deadline for submission of entries is 31st January, 2016
 Find rules and regulations at
While you are at it, below are some other prizes for African writers you may want to consider.
The Brunei University African Poetry Prize aimed at the development, celebration and promotion of poetry from Africa.
More information at
The Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa
Find rules and regulations at
Good luck!

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

What we'll be reading next

With just a couple of pages left, am almost done reading 'Americanah' so I thought it'd be a good idea to let you know what book we'll be sinking our teeth into next...Hint, its by  the same author. In Fact it was her first novel. Drum roll pleeease! Its  the award- winning Purple Hibiscus. 
 Its about a girl named Kambili as she re-discovers herself  while growing up with an abusive father. Go to your local book shop now!

Americanah: Just in case you are not Igbo

It so refreshing to see that even after so many years abroad, Chimamanda Adichie has not become a proper 'Americanah' herself and forgotten all about her roots, or even worse become ashamed of her 'gasp' native tongue. And did I mentioned that I think it's super cool that Obinze and Ifemelu competed to see who knows the most Igbo proverbs on their first date?
Now while reading this book, I noticed that it does not contain a glossary that pffers an explanation of the Igbo words and expressions used in the book ( my copy doesn't, anyway) so I decided to take it upon myself to do some ajayi work.
 And please bear in mind that am not quite as good as Obinze's mother at translations so this is not perfect and I have tried to explain the words in terms of the context in which they have been used in the book.
1. Biko : please.
2. Ndo: am sorry.
3: a di m ime: am pregnant.
4: asa! Ugo! These are terms of endearment, Am not sure I can fully explain them.
5: ife e sika kita: Times are hard now.
6: I ga sikwa! : there's no chance of that.
7. Obinze ma ife: Obinze is a wise man
8. Aru a dikwa? : are you alright?
9. o gini: what's wrong?
 Are there any other words you'd like me to interpret? Let me know and I'll try my best.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Americanah: Five things I wish I could say to the characters

Have you ever, half way through a book, found your self wishing you could actually meet and talk to the characters? You know scold someone who's seriously misbehaving, or even bang their head against a wall if that would bring them back to their senses or hug someone who's desperately in need of one?  I know Americanah is a fictional story and 'a figment of the writer's imagination and and any-resemblance with a person, living or dead is purely coincidental' and blah blah blah but if Adichie would give me a chance to meet some of them,  here's what I would say:
1. Oh please Blaine, tell  me you did not really eat a semen sandwich. What do you mean you were young and at Uni? Disgusting!
2. Ifemelu, tell Obinze about the tennis coach and save you both a decade of heartache.
3. Aunty Uju, first the General and now this annoying Bartholomew? Wait, what? 'You're now with Kweku and you're done dating total douchebags?' Good girl.
4. Yes Morgan, dear. Some oranges do have seeds and they are quite good. You should eat one.
5. Doris and all you Nigerpolitan club members who are craving paninis and chicken satays, do me a favour. Walk into the Murtala Muhammad International airport (you know where that is) buy, a ticketand go  back to wherever you came from. Good riddance!
 So what guys, Do you think I've totally lost my mind?

Americanah: new words

 of course I've encountered some more new words and its time to share them with you.
First, what on earth is a Panini? Apparently its sandwich made with Italian bread, usually toasted.
And where is Cozumel? Its a resort Island in the Caribbean , off the NE coast of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. 
And patina? Get ready, it lengthy. It could either be a green or brown film on the surface of bronze or similar metals, produced by oxidation over a long period or a gloss or sheen on wooden  furniture produced by age and polishing or the impression or appearance of something. 
A Golliwog is a soft doll with bright clothes, a black face and fuzzy hair.
And lastly Russet which is a reddish brown colour.
And oh! Ifemelu in a blogpost, orders us to look up the paper bag test and tar baby which I did (don't be lazy, look it up too) And why didn't anyone tell me that water melon could be racist, thought it was just a name for a big red fruit.

Monday, 4 January 2016

BOOK TRIVIA 101: Thank me later.

So you think you know all there is to know about books? Well, here are a five book facts that will put you to shame.
 1. A man called Murasaki Shikibu, wrote the world's first novel, The tale of Genji, in around 1008.
 2. Hilary Clinton's memoir, Living History, sold more than 200,000 copies in its first day of publication, more than any other non fiction title. It was published in 2003.
3.Noah Webster, often referred to as ' the father of his country's language' published the American dictionary of the English Language in 1828.
4. The first book printed  in English , in 1475 was the Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye by an Englishman William Coaxton.
5. The Encyclopaedia Brittanica, the first English Language encyclopaedia was published in Edinbrough Scotland in 177.
 See you next time.


Ask anyone and they'll most likely confirm what am about to say. Nigerian parents are some of the strictest in the world, unless of course you happen to be born abroad, then you can get away with a lot of things like telling your dad that you're about to move in with a man you're not married to like Ifemelu did or talking back at them them like like one of Nicholas' children, Nna or so. Cant remember his name now. My point is, an American or British (or a combination of both) accent, real or imagined can automatically make you a first class citizen in this country of mine. And what is this I hear about foreign graduates being able to pick where thee go for youth service? (if you're not Nigerian, kindly google the NYSC so you know what am talking about) But thats a story for another day so let me share with you an experience I had a couple of months ago, long before I even started reading Americanah. I was sitting with a man who had just returned to naija from the U.S when his wife called to complain about his American-born-never set foot in Nigeria-speak with an authentic American accent-daughters who were being super mean to their grand mother who was visiting from Nigeria for the first time. As a typical Nigerian girl, I was expecting him to go all strict-naija father on them but no, you should have heard him, " I don't want you to be rude to your granny, ok? ' she loves you, ok?"  In the fakest most ridiculous pseudo-American accent I ever heard. I was surprised but the most puzzling part of it? To see him seriously disciplining his Nigerian-born-no foreign accent to protect her-niece who was far younger than the girls by the way.